Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Passing The Time On The Airplane

Thankfully, on my last two flights, no one did their nail polish. It is really a selfish thing to do such a smelly thing in a confined space with other people; yet many people do it! But I was intrigued by what people did do. Many slept, listened to their CD players, read and slept, played with their computers, worked puzzle books, and talked a bit too loudly. You used to look forward to the meal service to pass the time, but those days are long gone when you see the flight attendants making their own meals by rolling up tortillas, with mayonnaise and sliced ham.
The people using their computers nearby cleaned out files, read old mail, did virus scans, etc. One guy politely played an action game on his lap so that the pounding of his computer would not annoy the neighbor in front unfortunate enough to have his tray table on the back of his seat. One passenger listened to several songs by Alison Krause on his Real Player; another played Solitare. Screen savers were also interesting, ranging from a galaxy of stars taken by the Hubble Telescope to a photo of moonlight rising over the ocean.
The most popular book was "The Tipping Point", definitely a good book that could engage you during a flight. One curious book was "The Anthropology of Turquoise", with reflections on the desert, sky, sea and stone. The strangest book was "Wi-Foo, The Secrets of Wireless Hacking, and he would read two pages of very small print which he underlined, listen to music, read again. I hope that he is not planning hacking into something terribly significant.
Myself, I read an old John Grisham novel, slept, and tried to keep my daughter from having a fight with the woman sitting behind her, after she resisted her attempts to put the seat back.

These Truths I Hold Self Evident

Today, these facts are on my mind:
1. I still hate George W. Bush.
2. I love Trader Joe's. Today, I found out they discontinued pickled snap peas, a family favorite as a low carb snack, due to low sales volume. A few months ago, they discontinued truffle oil --it was delicious, cheap and sold slowly. But they made up for my disappointment with the addition of 'just the leaves" of green leaf lettuce. Looks like the fantastic jammers have competition.!! They will be an alternative due to the different texture.
3. I am tired of being hot.

Monday, August 30, 2004

"You Can't Go Home Again"

"You Can't Go Home Again" -- meaning you can’t recover the past. This saying is the title of a novel by the twentieth-century American author Thomas Wolfe. And, he's right -- you cannot recover the past when you do go home. So, the reality is that it is hard to go, to confront one's past and see how it has shaped you today. It is fraught with sadness, and regrets and "I wish"es, and some thoughts that bring a smile or tear. So, do you put it out of your mind in a little box that you don't dare open up? Or are you so bold that you may hope to be able to go home and be whatever you have become. I don't know the answer.
I did go home this weekend and, subsequently, my mind is reviewing it all. Perhaps, in the days that follow, I will forget most of it, as I have been conditioned to do all these many years. Isn't that sad?
While I do reflect on the past few days, I am blessed with a beautiful cactus flower, probably the very last one of the season. Tonight, it is opening slowly and gracefully in the light of a full moon. That is truly a glorious greeting for its one night of beauty. If only we could all receive such a wonderful welcome.

Friday, August 27, 2004


I always feel like you need to bring gifts when you go places --hostess gifts, small items to people you will be seeing, just a little something so they know you were thinking about them. I don't usually think of it until the very last minute, and then you get into the regifting plan, where you give a gift of something you have received and either did not like or use. Today I am gathering my supply of little odds and ends gifts, and my husband often says that my gifts remind him of the terrible gifts his mother always gave people. I try to think of something that the person might use, albeit unconventional.
My worst one was probably these hat racks that you could put in the top shelf of the dishwasher to wash baseball caps. For hat wearers, it seemed ideal. Another was a special brush for cleaning out combs and hairbrushes, back in the day when Fuller Brush was sold door-to-door. I gave out bottle openers made of recycled plastic once and have given bath cubes many times. Lately, Starbuck's or Blockbuster gift cards seem to make the best gifts, and believe it or not, you can even regift those too!

Break in the Blogging

As I leave for two days, I know that I will miss my blogging. It provides an outlet for the things that run through your mind over and over. You write a post, and , in a sense, it is out of your head. It is therapeutic to write in a diary-sort-of-way. On my last trip, I made a list of blog topics to cover when I got home, but some of those are still pending.
While I am on the topic of leaving, I tried the wonderful option of online checkin for Southwest Airlines. Turns out the online checkin people get all the "A" seating numbers. But, in their infinite wisdom, a reservation with multiple passengers cannot be completed online. Most people that travel on Southwest go in family groups, so that makes little sense. Long lines ahead on Friday evening...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

New Laws Take Effect Today

All the new laws passed in the last Arizona legislative session go into effect today, August 25, some specified number of days after the end of the session. There are several Homeowner association bills, some good and some bad. But, the worst bill of all extends last call for drinks in the bars until 2 a.m. They say it will not be more people drinking, but the same people drinking more (duh!). And the police are bracing for the impact with extra patrol cars out. Many bars are having special "late call" celebrations.
I must be so old that I find this to be really weird. Yes, it is Arizona, where people do drink, drive and kill, but even for here, it is outrageous. There are suggestions for selecting "designated drivers" in the paper; are the people ordering late call drinks reading the morning newspaper?

I Hate George W. Bush

Since I had not posted how much I hate George W. Bush in awhile, I felt the need to post it today. So, for those of you who don't know, I hate George W. Bush, and while I am at it, his father and his jerky brother. An acquaintance just had her husband activated to be sent to Iraq and it made me remember why I don't like liars. Now you know.

You Break It, You Buy It (Not)!

Last week I knocked over a wine bottle display at Trader Joe's with my big armful of recycling bags. As they cleaned it up (only one broke), they joked that they wished they had a glass to drink some before it shattered. Of course, my beloved Trader Joe's did not charge me! My spill was minor compared to some lady who knocked over a whole stack of wine cases last year by the dairy section. Despite wine, and lots of glass on the floor, people walked in and got their cheeses, proceeding to track wine throughout the store. That was a cleanup worthy of Mr. Monk!
I am proudly sporting my new Trader Joe's license plate holder.This week they got some organic micro greens. They are so delicious! Since we now buy fish there too, is it possible Trader Joe's will become our one-stop shopping destination?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

New Hobby

A new and, probably, very addictive hobby! Clicking on the "next blog" on my blog page. Wow, there are really interesting people out there! How else could you find such group of people thinking, and writing, about what they are interested in. I think it is the writing I like, as having to write your thoughts, experience, ideas and issues helps you crystalize your own.
Sadly, I miss watching what ads come on blog after the Google server scans the key topics. I am not a candidate at this time for AdSense in my blog, but you never know.

Is It Possible?

Is it possible that my daughter is wishing for more homework? She says she is bored and waiting for more work to do. Stay posted on that one.
Is it possible I will be able to endure the anxiety of next weekend? Trying to compromise what I want, what my daughter wants and what everyone else wants, sounds stressful. My daughter's parting words on the topic were "do what I (meaning she) want and don't worry about everyone else." Easier said than done. Must be nice to be able to focus exclusively on oneself.
Is it possible that I will get my HOA minutes done this week? Or will I find lots of diversions to help me procrastinate?
Lastly, is it possible that my volunteering today could be even more boring than last week? Probably. My husband advised to "call in dead" last week. One week to go until my LOA to work on political campaigns begins. Is it possible I will return to my post in November? Place your bets here.

Have You Been Under a Rock?

What idiot did not know that Dick Cheney was the brains and backbone of the W. Bush administration?
The news headline reported that "Dick Cheney is one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, regarded as a driving force behind the Iraq war and the Bush administration's industry-friendly energy politics.
A longtime Bush family confidant and defense secretary in the first Gulf War, Cheney is a courtly figure who embodies former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt's maxim: "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Cheney worked out of sight for long stretches at an undisclosed location for security reasons."
I wish he had stayed out of sight as he is evil and corrupt!

Monday, August 23, 2004


The new button on the blogspot site directs you to next blog. It must be other recent postings, and late last night, I read a few. Many of the postings were summaries of people's weekends and their related thoughts. One guy was elated he had gotten a GMail invitation -- and his post pondered what emails to keep or eliminate. That is a dilemna that I have been facing. Hotmail, my long term account, is one most people have, but often I get a "server busy" message for hours on end, and it is VERY annoying. Yes, they just increased memory, which helps, but I still get tons of porno mail, where they skirt the screens with ! and ?.
I directed people to my Yahoo email. I like it as it is easier to use, and is always accessible. However, I am frustrated I have never been able to connect the two emails together via Yahoo.
So, if I got a GMail account, what would I do? I did get a cox.net account, used it once and promptly forgot the password, and besides, that was two computers ago. What an odd dilemna I face, all in my quest to never use the telephone again.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Prepositions were the topic in 7th grade English this week, with the requirement of memorizing an alphabetical list of prepositions. After years of writing and editing, I did not know that the word concerning was a preposition. Who knew? I debated with myself about the possibility of writing a post using all the prepositions, but that seemed to be tedious.
The assignment made no sense to me, in that they did not have to use them in a sentence, but they had to spell them correctly to start with. The teacher had each student take some sort of test to determine how they learn: oral/listening - I could have told them she listens to nothing she is not interested in; visual/reading - again, she only absorbs that which interests her, and finally, kinetically -- movement. So she was practicing the prepositions by creating dance steps with the word patterns, and had to write out the spelling test (I like it to be oral like a spelling bee). But I was told, "Remember Mom, I am kinetic. I have to write it, get into it, feel it." So, as usual, we''ll do whatever it takes.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

52 Going On 15

The description of how neuropathways function follows: "The brain whispers messages to the body through electrical impulses transmitted to the central nervous system. Sometimes these electrical impulses, or brain waves, are disturbed, creating abnormal rhythmic patterns. When the brain continues to transmit these abnormal patterns, imbalances are created in the body. The body does not forget."
The mind and body are amazing machines. However, I think neuropathways are to blame for the fact that I react to my mother's manipulation and pressure in the exact same way, at age 52, as I did at age 15. I know that reactions to certain stimulus or situations trigger the neuropathways into action, repeating whatever that action was before. In my case, that entails turning into flubber and losing any backbone whatsoever.
Short of neurofeedback treatment, I must figure out how to reprogram these neuropathways so my reactions reflect the person I desire to be. Sounds like I need some of that magical imagery material from Belleruth Naperstek to help with this challenge...

America Coming Together: ACT for Victory

I got a call from "America Coming Together" this morning, asking what I thought the big issues in the election were. Well, I asked, who are you?, who funds your organization?, how will the information be used? Since the volunteer calling did not have answers, I politely declined, saying I was registered and we already have our early ballots.
So I went online to research it, and I wish she would have told me about "America Coming Together". It is the largest voter outreach ever done (ACT for Victory), in 17 targeted states, 39 million calls, 21 million door knocks, some huge number of mailing pieces, with the objective of getting Democrats elected from the top down. This means federal, state and local offices. Needless to say, I am totally in support of that plan, and wish she had shared who they were with me. But, nonetheless, I am glad that the volunteers, like Heather, are doing the calls and getting people registered. It is our most important right as Americans and I will be doing my part towards that goal!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Something for Nothing

I am a sucker for affinity buying clubs -- buy so much stuff and you get merchandise, gifts, etc. I learned a lesson today -- you don't really get something for nothing in most situations.
The beauty store, ULTA, where my daughter gets her hair cut, has a "club" where you get points for dollars spent. We got a flyer that we had 2 free items, so we rushed over there! You get to choose from a list of stuff, from their regular merchandise and it is actually a good incentive.
Here's where the problem begins. There was lots of help in the store, with only one at checkout and a long line. She kept leaving to find something, get help from her boss, answer a question and I came close to leaving my free stuff as my time and patience were wearing thin. Obviously, they want you to buy stuff while you are there. I bought an item on sale, but it rang up the regular price, the manager had to come over to fix the problem and we finally got out of there. Definitely makes me rethink this club plan.
I do, however, feel differently about the voucher for $2o store credit that you get for spending a certain amount at Nordstrom. I never question the value of that incentive!

The "Big Yellow"

The "Big Yellow", also known as the schoolbus, has been a bit of concern this week, with a seemingly poorly trained driver. The Paradise Valley Unified School District has an organization, United Parent Council (UPC), that provides both parties a communication point, from which information is passed to school district administration and back to each school. I love this group and have learned so much about the district, including how much I respect anyone who chooses teaching or being a principal as their career!
Yesterday, the superintendent and all his key assistant superintendents, spoke at our meeting. It was so great to hear what they are all doing. Well, of course, one guy was head of facilities and transporation. So he got an email from me detailing the concerns about the bus driver.
He responded quickly, saying "all the classrooms, gymnasiums and playgrounds in the district combined do not represent the risk associated with a single school bus. Lost, late and confused drivers make me very nervous and bad news doesn't improve with age. Don't hesitate to call me!"
He went on to further explain that the person,with a clipboard that my daughter described as helping the driver, was a state-certified driver trainer that works for the district. I am so impressed by the rapid response (ok, I did go all the way to the top guy in the district!). But, if it were your kid on the bus, wouldn't you do the same thing?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Person DuJour

That is what my husband calls the various people I have encountered though the years. The person dujour is one that I talk about alot for a period of time, and then we move on. Soon another person dujour is on the scene.
Notable persons dujour have been work people, that I had done particular projects with: Cindy, the CEO's admin that did a project with me and her husband was a high ranking officer in a well-known nursing home chain (probably in jail now); Anne and Toni were young administrators at a hospital I worked at; Janet was the Finance administrator and a wonderful soul; Kathleen, Janet, and Bonnie were there during a particularly emotional period of my life while awaiting approval of the adoption papers for my daughter; Judith was my neighbor and friend in California; Sherry is in my Hebrew classes now; Ellie is a fellow synchro mom and someone who gets in there and does whatever needs to be done with a smile; Ruth is in the water exercise class that I teach...the list goes on, but I cannot remember anyone else right now, though there were surely many more in the 21 plus years I have known my husband.
The fun thing about persons dujour is that they come and go and I am happy to have known each of them for that period of time. I wonder who the next one will be?

Middle School Update

The first two days of middle school seem to have gone well for my daughter. The new world has not really sunk in yet, and homework has not yet started. This brings on the tv battle, an age-old one in our house. She read, hid, played with her clothing and earrings and was bored. She has temporarily disabled her computer again with some virus-laden download that attacked the Windows Operating System. She even played on her play structure, for old-times sake.
I, on the other hand, was so distracted that I backed into the trash can, leaving some big scratches on my car as a souvenir of the first day of middle school. Aside from worrying about the impact of all her work, when it sinks in, we are concerned that the bus driver seems very poorly trained and extremely confused. She told the kids the reason she was 10 minutes late for the ride home tonight was that she couldn't remember where the school was. That is very promising.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Middle School Tomorrow

My daughter starts middle school tomorrow! My husband and I have first-day-of-school stomach aches for her. She is excited and nervous. In order to feel part of her group, they are all wearing pink and black for the first day. We selected all the pieces of her outfit carefully and bought some really cute, new, black earrings. We encouraged her to remember, when she sees or touches the earrings, all the hard work that got her to pierced ears, and to be confident that she will continue to succeed.
But, in the meantime, do you ever get too old to have those first day jitters? I am so glad I have a busy day tomorrow so I will not wonder what she is doing every minute. A beautiful cactus flower is opening tonight in honor of her new school adventure. I want to spare her all the difficult times that I had at that age -- I hope that her confidence and courage will get her through, at least, until the first school dance on September 10.

Out and about today

When we got Basha's today, which, by the way, is my favorite local grocery chain, they had disinfectant wipes available at the door. They suggest cleaning off the handles of the grocery cart. I do believe that Mr. Monk must have been there before me...
While we are on the grocery topic, why do they offer bag credits when you always have to ask to get them? I always take my bags to reuse, even to stores that don't give any credit, and feel so guilty when I forget or don't take enough bags in for all my purchases. They now have these weird cardboard handles, with advertising, for the plastic bags. Weird, and wasteful, as I saw several littering the parking lot. The ones I saw were for the movie "Catwoman."
And I am wondering what is the best way to remove toilet paper from your trees. The neighbors got "tpeed" again as they have high school and college girls. Their dad was using some sort of long pole and trying to re-roll it. I give him lots of credit.
On the subject of tp, I usually stick with Cottenelle or Charmin', based on a former relative's recommendation. When I buy those, there are no complaints of prison tp in the house, unlike when I purchase Scott, albeit only on sale. This week I got a great sale on Quilted Northern, plus used a coupon, and the crowd rebelled.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Mr. Monk

We are fans of Mr. Monk, or the show "Monk". Actually, my daughter and I are avid fans and my husband tolerates it. Tony Shaloub plays an offbeat detective that has a unique way of problem solving. It is often charming, funny and, when he is not portrayed in an overly eccentric fashion, one of the best shows on TV. It shows on USA and we have our DVR (or my husband does since I don't have a clue as to how to work it) set to record "Monk" whenever it is on. They have some great guest stars -- we liked Adam Arkin. The underlying theme is Mr. Monk's ongoing challenge in solving his wife's murder, while solving other murder cases that sometimes bring clues to his wife's case. He has a germ fetish and other OCD habits that make him a very unusual character. Being set in San Francisco, we often identify places we have seen and always try to guess what fact he will find to unlock the case, but only my husband is ever remotely close. That's what happens after one has been a TV critic, I guess.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Paraguay and the Olympics -- Good luck!

The news story detailed the opening ceremony and parade of athletes at the Olympics. They highlight the return of Afghanistan, thumbs down and boos at the USA team, cheers for the Iraqi team. What caught my interest was the fact that "Paraguay carried a banner that read ``From Horror to Hope'' in apparent reference to the supermarket fire that killed nearly 400 people earlier this month." God bless them for their hope and courage, for, as one who has been to Paraguay, they have very little else at their disposal.

Mr. Boogerstrom

My favorite episode of "The Simpsons" was entitled "Mr. Boogerstrom." Lisa had a substitute teacher named Mr. Bergstrom, who pre-empted teasing by giving all the possible nicknames, including Mr. Boogerstrom. I loved the name and the episode, in which Lisa learns so much from the teacher and is sad when he leaves. The voice, uncredited on the show, was Dustin Hoffman.
That voice was the one that triggered something in my mind when I heard his voice at the Farmer's Market in LA. (See previous post regarding Julia Child for background.) That was a particularly poignant episode in a show that is usually so boorish. Don't get me wrong -- we love the early years of that show, "Sideshow Bob" is a family favorite.

Farewell, Julia Child

About 3 years ago, my daughter and I were waiting for a flight, and the other flight departing from the same gate was headed to Santa Barbara. As we waited, someone behind me was reading something aloud from "The New Yorker." The voice was so familiar, that I had to turn around to see who it was. Remarkably, it was Julia Child, traveling with an assistant! At that point, a few admirers came up to her and said hello. She later went to the bathroom, herself, slowly, with the aid of a cane. I asked the assistant if she minded when people asked her questions. She replied, "only in the grocery store when she is shopping for herself. People will come up and ask how to pick the ripe cantalopes."
When she came back, I approached her and told her that she was my husband's role model for cooking and that he would be awed to meet her. She said to wish him her very best, and then, headed to her flight. I did wish him her best, and he was very touched!
The only other time a familiar voice made me stop and turn around was during a visit to the Farmer's Market in the Fairfax part of LA. I heard this voice, stopped in my tracks, and turned around to find Dustin Hoffman talking to someone. I was such a rube that, since it was very early in the morning, I got a cup of coffee and sat across the courtyard to stare and soak it in. It was memorable.
I told my daughter that Julia Child had died. She said, "that old lady?" What was probably more appropriate was, that classy lady that pioneered cooking shows and made cooking accessible to everyone. She wasn't even afraid to televise her mistakes and faux pas while in the kitchen. I also admired how she continued to watch over her ill husband, even after he went into a nursing home.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I Wish I Hadn't Seen That...

I wish I had not read the articles in "The Village Voice" about the Vietnam soldiers MIA. The tales of the Senate Committee, headed by John Kerry, and their efforts to find the missing prisoners, made me sick to my stomach. The subsequent coverup and whitewashing of information about prisoners still alive in Vietnam was completely disheartening.
I wish I had not read about "Vital Galaxy", a former race horse turned over to the local horse rescue organization too ill to stand and 500 lbs. underweight. When he died one week later, they had gotten him strong enough to enjoy his favorite treat of a peppermint with a carrot.
I wish I had not read about the starvation and war in Sudan at the hands of the Arabs. They are killing the men and children; what they are doing to the women is unthinkable and unspeakable.
I wish that I had not read about a woman who forgot to take her baby out of the carseat in the car when she got home in the afternoon. It was 110 degrees outside and the baby was dead when she remembered two hours later.
And the list could go on, but sometime my mind has to stop so I can go to sleep.

Geoffrey the Giraffe's Possible Demise?

In the late 1970's, the first Toys 'R' Us store opened near Seattle's Southcenter. As a giraffe nut, I joined all the kids in line at 6 a.m. for a chance to meet Geoffrey and get into the store early. I acquired a huge quantity of stuff with Geoffrey's image on them, most of which are in a box in the garage. One cute little purse serves as my daughter's tzadakeh fund holder and we do use a set of small, plastic juice cups.
Since then, I went to Toys 'R' Us as a mom, buying lots of toys for bribes and incentives over the years. They had the best assortment of Barbies and Polly Pockets and were an awesome source of birthday party gifts. The impulse buying area in the maze when you enter the door was always a dangerous area for me!
Their system broke down at checkout (much like Lowes) where they do a great marketing and merchandising job, but have few clerks at the large number of checkout counters. I left lots of stuff in carts as I could not tolerate the long waits, particularly with a kid in tow. When they sold through Amazon, I bought via that route. Anything to avoid going to stand in line and to not have to go to Walmart.
It is sad to think that this icon may possibly demise. Perhaps Geoffrey can be kept alive with Babies 'R' Us, but this is a sad statement about our enterprise system, when Walmart just wins by being the biggest. And that does not even consider the fact that FAO Schwartz and KB Toys are already virtually gone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

It Is Possible I May Never Eat Dinner Out Again

Tonight, after middle school orientation, we had to go out for dinner, selecting Macaroni Grill. It is convenient and my daughter usually likes it. But she has grown out of the kids meal (last time she had two kids meals) and ordered something different, which she was not thrilled with. You can always tell when she goes into the ladies room multiple times during the meal (not an eating disorder, just not liking her particular meal and getting restless.)
So I tried tasting her meatball, which, in itself, was unusual as I eat so little red meat. It was soft and undercooked in the middle. She had eaten one already. So I complained, the manager came over and offered another item. By that point, we were already to just leave. The waiter was horrible, disorganized and other tables were complaining to the manager. They reassured us that the meatballs are pre-cooked and shipped frozen to the individual restaurants. Then they are warmed up in a tray, and maybe the ones we got were just not warmed up enough. So we didn't eat raw meat.....how very reassuring and gross!
They did adjust the bill for the meatballs, unlike Maggiano's Little Italy when they made their food service error. We were more dressed up and my husband was wearing his expensive watch -- maybe that really does make a difference in how you are treated in such situations. For the record, my low fat, low carb chicken dish was quite good, as was the salad. I find that sometimes, a yucky meal out keeps us from going out again for awhile. Tonight's experience could make it a long while.

Tonight, There Are Nine!

Nine lovely white flowers are opening tonight on my cactus -- opening for their one night of glory on a warm, stormy night. If they are lucky, they will witness a meteor shower after midnight, clouds permitting. My mind boggles with anticipation about what magic could be in store for tomorrow? Surely, a night with nine luscious flowers could only be followed by an awesome day.

I laughed; I cried

Recently, I have started reading the newspaper in bed while my husband exercises, faithfully, each day, no matter what. Today I laughed, and then I cried.
I laughed at a letter to editor where someone wrote that "Laura Bush should stick to reading children's books to children," rather than share her comments on stem-cell research. Bravo!
And I chuckled when another letter to the editior commented on the local debate of "fogging mosquitos," spraying a pesticide to prevent spread of the West Nile Virus. The writer said, that if one of the supporters thought the spray was so safe, "he should spray it on his scrambled eggs.!" That brought a strange image to mind.
I cried reading the obituary of a woman with the same birthday as me, 10 years younger, that died.
And I cried reading about the first day of a new elementary school principal. She did a variety of events in order to meet the kids and parents. She was in the cafeteria for lunchtime and helped a new kindergartner open her "Hello Kitty" lunchbox and milk. The child, spotting a note inside the lunch, asked her "can you read?" The note read something along the lines of "Have a great day on your first day of kindergarten. Mommy is so proud of you." She told the child that was a great note and to keep it as someday she will treasure it.
It wasn't mentioned, but how about that mom who wrote it? I know I will never forget the day my daughter walked into her kindergarten class, like a big girl and did not look back. I was so proud of her courage and so sad that she would eventually not need me anymore. I stood at the door and wept, and I weep now thinking of how fast it all changes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Nixon's Resignation

Doesn't everyone remember where they were the night Richard Nixon resigned? I was in a hotel room in Minneapolis on the way to a friend's wedding in rural Minnesota. I was with my mother, my aunt and my cousin and it was a trip to remember. Anyhow, I felt so much anger for Nixon and the Watergate scandal, but sadness that it came to him having to resign the presidency. To work so hard to get into a position where you could do so much good, and you have to bug your opponent's offices. There had to be a better use of resources than that. I still am curious about the identity of "Deep Throat", and it still does create a good discussion, if you hang around with people old enough to remember it.

Now I have to hate Mrs. George W. Bush too!

All this time I have not really disliked Mrs. George W. Bush as she was a librarian promoting kids reading and probably had to wear the yellow slicker while her husband was going through detox and rehab. But, now, she is getting into the anti-stem cell debate. I, for one, don't want her opinion on this topic. Much like abortion, people make up their minds and no amount of debate will change it -- so until we have a president that can look at the issue of stem cell research in an objective manner, we will be treading water and working with limited resources. Heaven help her if she, or any of her crooked family, get an illness that could be cured with stem cells...

Borders Books

I inherited a Borders gift card from my daughter's birthday -- she opted to buy something cool at a teen clothing shop and I paid in exchange for gift cards of equal value. So, I have this $20 gift card, but mostly buy online from Amazon and my husband buys at half. com. I read about a book for middle school girls in the paper today and decided to see if they had it in stock, as it showed up online.
I went in, up to the front desk and asked to see if it was in stock. They had one copy showing in inventory. The guy helping me was nice, and we looked where it was supposed to be and four other places. Finally, he said they could order it and it would arrive in 7-10 days. I asked why they showed one in inventory if there were none to be found. He indicated that the inventory system takes 48 hours to update. How useful is that? Well, I had him place the order because I have this gift card I have to use.
I also am trying to spend a Gap card (I don't fall into the Gap and don't fit into anything there either). The Old Navy card finally did get used as I tried to cram my body into one of those cute denim mini-skirts, and ended up buying pants for my daughter anyhow. I have a Target card that I will have no problem spending many times over.
After all this, I could have just ordered the book from Amazon and it would already be on its way. I also could just go get some food and drink in the cafe at Borders and be done with it.

Motivation to change

If I ever needed motivation to move things around in my life, my volunteer stint this afternoon provided a kick in the butt. I was treatly rudely by someone when I called to tell them a patient had arrived and, only my concern for the patient kept me from just walking out. I understand being harried and overloaded, but it is not necessary to be rude. I informed the department staff I was not getting paid and therefore, did not have to take that kind of treatment. But, for that patient, and a few others that arrived later, I stuck it out. I feel so blessed that I have my health and faculties. I hope that, if I am ever at the stage of needing a caring soul to help fill out some paperwork, some kind-hearted volunteer is there with a smile.

Working At A Real Job

In the seven weeks preceding the Jewish holidays, it is appropriate to reflect on one's life and think about things in the past year that you would want to change. For the second year, I have decided to use this time to examine and change my daily routines. Last year, I gave up teaching some classes at a great facility that did not market well; this year, I am taking a leave of absence from my volunteering to work on election campaigns and examine other options.
As my husband approaches his one-year anniversary in his dream job, I am blessed in not having to have a real job. I do teach exercise one day per week, will be volunteering at my daughter's new middle school,and will attempt to cook and do some chores around the house. I try to keep my schedule flexible to be available to take my daughter where she needs or chooses to go. This year I am going to get involved in some committees at the synagogue and in the school district, as well as stay on the HOA Board. I have to be careful not to take on too much as I have a tendency to do that...resulting in extreme procrastination behavior.
So, as I continue to examine my life in the coming weeks, I will be thankful for my health, delighted that my husband has an opportunity to do what he loves, and extremely hopeful for my daughter. After that, we'll see.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Do you really have to tell people that?

The local school district starts tomorrow, so the district spokesperson has advice in the paper today -- "It is important to make sure your child attends the first day of school."
I must be from another planet -- why wouldn't you make sure your child attends the first day of school? Aside from being ready to get them back into their own daily routine, they all need the skills to function in the world, and, above all, be able to get an education so they can get a job. I must be missing something.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

We hate George W. Bush!

That common dislike (distrust) of George Bush brought together lots of folks (100+)at the campaign training I attended today, put on by 21st Century Democrats, Latinos for America and Democracy for America. I was humbled by the energy and passion with which the presenters, lifelong political activists and campaign strategists, shared their experience and wisdom. They taught us how to set up and manage campaigns -- similar to the training done by both the Democratic and Republican parties for their novice candidates. It was exciting and fascinating and I did not want it to come to an end!
I will definitely increase my level of involvement going forward. Now I just have to decide which campaigns (national, local), what political activist groups or which issues I want to jump into. The meter is running -- 84 days remain until the election on November 2. We all have to register and vote -- voting early or by mail gets it done easily -- and you have your say in who will lead our county.

Lettuce Jammers Rock

Lettuce jammers are the coolest new food product -- I have not found them yet, but when I do, they will be popular at our house. They are "crisp and sweet lettuce leaves, shaped like a pocket for holding and wrapping all of your favorite foods hot or cold. Even odd-shaped food is handled with a quick fill of boat-shaped Lettuce Jammers™! Lettuce Jammers™ are a very sturdy leaf with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures without wilting, tearing or dripping. Whoa! You know regular lettuce can’t do that!" That description is directly from their website, which tells us that the new lettuce is a blend of romaine and iceberg lettuces!
I already use romaine leaves as wraps, or pieces of endive as "boats" -- but isn't this new product a testimony of creativity?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Get out there and vote!

You just have to get out there and vote. If you have not registered, do it. Sign up for a vote-by-mail ballot. Get informed and vote every election. Help your friends and family get registered and remind them to vote. It is important for the future of our country, our democracy and our children.
I am empowered by attending a 2 day seminar from 21st Century Democrats and Democracy for America (former Dean supporters) entitled "Campaign Training, 2004." We are going over the basics of running campaigns and getting voters to exercise their right of voting and choosing who will be our leaders. We cannot always win, but we sure have to get out and try to support candidates that support our ideas and values.
Voting is so important -- there is no excuse not to vote!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Get Into The Olympics?

No, thanks. In 1968, I had the pleasure of touring the original site of the Olympics -- at that point, Greece had few American tourists and you could go into all the buildings (Parthenon, etc.) But, aside from that, I am not interested in the Olympics. I don't really have any desire to watch them, but have endured selected sports as my daughter competes in them. We have watched gymnastics, swimming, and, this year, may watch synchronized swimming, since that is her current sport of choice.
The stories of training, intensity, overcoming the odds and desire do intrigue me, and I like the sidebar stories. Things like the different menu options in the athletes' dining halls are of interest to me. Once, after her famous performance, we saw Kerry Strugs at the Whole Foods in Mill Valley and we went to the tour of the "Fabulous Four" gymnasts that year.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Food Allergies

Food allergies are omnipresent, if you have them. We are very careful about what we buy, how food is prepared and ingredients in everything. We usually have two or three different entrees at dinner to accomodate food allergies. Even though some foods have recently been added to my husband's list of things he could eat (and some things taken off the list, too!), you cannot be too careful. People always want to know what would happen if you ate an allergic food. It varies, according to the physician, from itching mouth, stomach upset to your throat closing up., or worse. We have to be very careful, and we usually are.
A new restaurant opened -- we love new ones, read the menu online, tracked opening day and finally went tonight. The entrees we ordered looked similar, but they gave us each the right side dish and we did not suspect...until halfway through my husband kept looking at his food,and finally, realized in horror, he had eaten the dreaded chicken!
Fortunately, nothing immediate (and serious!) had happened and we were one mile from Mayo Clinic Hospital ER. We told the server. She said she would tell the manager, but we are not sure if that happened. They offered us free desserts -- obviously not understanding we just wanted to get the heck out of there before he got sick.
So I guess we won't be going back to Maggiano's Little Italy. It was too noisy in there anyhow and our daughter hated it the minute we walked in. But, they could have had a serious lawsuit if there had been an immediate reaction. Lesson learned: always check the food, no matter where you are. I should have done that tonight. So far, we are ok....keeping calm.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

What is courage?

Sometimes, people just display lots of courage. I am often impressed by that when I read or hear about it. For example, the little girl in Philadelphia, Alexandra Scott, who raised cancer research funds while terminally ill with a childhood cancer. She died this week at the age of 8 -- what an example she left in her short, but valuable life. Or, in someone who takes a valiant stand - politically or otherwise -- because they know it is the right thing to do. Rusty Tillman, an Arizona athlete killed in Afghanistan was one of those people. Or, any proud Jewish people (and those of other faiths) that choose to life their lives in Israel demonstrate beliefs that are stronger than any threats to their well-being. Or, my husband who just keeps on doing the right thing and being persistent to succeed when, sometimes, that is really hard to do. Lance Armstrong and his amazing recovery from cancer is totally courageous. War camp survivors who continue to get up each morning and keep on living are among the most courageous folks I could imagine.
I could even say Smarty Jones, the horse, who kept on racing after bashing his head into a rail. You could say he did not make the decision for himself, and will have fun in retirement being a stud.
Just my thoughts today. For me, I am courageous when I stand up to someone who bullies me on the phone.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


I love tomatoes -- and always have, even before they were known to be healthy! My all-time favorites are organic, heirloom tomatoes found mostly at farmer's markets in California. They are often available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, but freshly harvested, bought from the grower cannot be topped! Add fresh cut basil, mozzarella cheese and lots of vinegar -- a heavenly treat, indeed. My husband is partial to cherry and sundried tomatoes, but I will eat any tomato, in season or not. Alice Waters once said, when I toured the Marin Farmer's Market with her, that a tomato out of season was simply not worth eating.
We tried some Jersey tomatoes recently and they were quite different. They were flavorful and had a more firm texture. Anytime I see gazpacho on a menu, I am compelled to try it. As a pepper freak, I will always love eating a tomato with lots of fresh ground pepper. In fact, I am going to do that right now!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Epic Journey Comes to an End!

The infamous transformer actually ended its journey and arrived at its destination Saturday. They noted that it made great progress on the straight, flat roads once it got into Arizona. Well, gee, what took them so long to figure that out? Now, while they install it, we still need to try to conserve. It does make a great excuse not to do any laundry, however. APS took out an ad in the paper, listing interesting ways to conserve energy while we try to voluntarily reduce our power use in the hottest part of the day (3-6 p.m.) -- take a nap, meditate, run errands, read a book, work on your holiday list, raise your thermostat by two or three degrees, run your pool pump at night, avoid using major appliances.....were just a few of their suggestions. I could add a few -- starting with thinking of how stupid they were bringing the transformer on backroads.
The other side of the same newpaper page had a full page ad, taken out by the Phoenix Suns, in memory of their Coach, Cotton Fitzsimmons, who died this past week. The ad states "There's a team up there that just got a whole lot better." That sounds like the Suns of the old days, with Charles Barkley and his era of players. We saw some awesome games and I learned my best basketball moves from watching Barkley. Now you couldn't even get me to a game, even with free tickets! I should add a caveat: if Barkley and Jordan came back to play together, I would go!

New Computer

I got a new laptop computer today. Wow, I now have a really nice setup, nicer than I probably need for my tasks. I am wondering, however, about the growing dead computer junkyard we are developing in our garage. If we have one, imagine the sum total of dead computers that exist as people and businesses replace them. If only there was a way to reuse them so they don't fill up our landfills -- maybe schools, non-profits, someone could use them. I will be researching that; we had a place in California where they took the components, made new systems, trained people on them and got them out in the job market. That was such a great re-use of the dead computer parts.